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Opinions on advice I received regarding exercise in the heat and hydration/cooling?

Discussion in 'Health & Nutritional Care' started by Worg, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. Worg

    Worg Big Dog

    I had asked a question (Reddit) on how to get my dog to drink water in public after she has exercised (she only likes drinking water at home) and it led to an email conversation with someone who said he was a vet who specializes in the cooling process for dogs.

    (TLDR at the end)

    Him: My specialty and area of research and focus is hot weather exercise with pits and a few other breeds. I study their panting physiology and they actually have a very, very efficient panting process and they utilize water that is naturally in their body extremely efficiently. One of the worst things you can do actually is to provide water during exercise. You actually want to wait about 2 hours post exercise. You don't need any coconut water. In what part of the country are you located? I will send you a lot of detailed info about running with them in the heat if you would like. I have run and trained and studies them in 100+ degrees. They are amazing and have very unique physiology, especially panting physiology.

    (we then switched to email rather than reddit messaging after some unimportant back and forth messages)

    Him: I specifically study and work with hot weather running and the panting process and can teach you all about that.
    How far do you typically run? They can do very long distances in the heat.

    Me: We typically do between 45 minutes to an hour of her sprinting during fetch, then an hour of walking. Im not sure about the distance. I try to exercise her every other day.

    Him: I am glad you reached out, as this is my area of expertise and what I have spent a lot of time researching the physiology of water metabolism and the panting process. In fact, I will be publishing an article in the fall on a related topic. These dogs are extreme efficient at using the water naturally in their body and this efficiency increases dramatically in hot weather. Giving water during hot weather exercise is actually one of the things you want to avoid. Sorry if this gets a bit technical, but I would like to give you some background first. The way in which their body handles water is different and unique. As their panting progresses and the tongue extends farther and farther, their body becomes more and more efficient at how it uses and metabolizes water. When you give water while they are panting, you actually significantly decrease their inherent ability to utilize the water already naturally in their system. This is opposite from humans and counterintuitive to what seems would be correct. This is one of the reasons that you can't apply human physiology or characteristics to them. What this means, is that while it might seem like the correct thing to do, you actually do not want to give any water during or directly after their exercise. It both decreases their ability to use the water naturally in their body, AND it dramatically increases the risk for bloat. That is something you want to avoid at all costs. It comes on quickly, and there is little that you can do. Even a small amount of water can trigger it. So, this will take a bit of changing how you have thought about things, but you will be starting to do what is much much better for her. So leave the water at home.

    Let me explain a bit about panting. Panting happens in level and I classify their panting in 6 levels (really 5 as you will see that I count a level 0)

    Level 0 - This is where their mouth is completely closed and there is no tongue visible .

    Level 1 - This is where their mouth has just started to crack open ever so slightly and there is a hint of tongue. They will spend a minute or two at this level and then go back to a level 0 with a completely closed mouth.

    Level 2 - The mouth has started to open a bit more and the tongue has extended a tiny bit further. At this point, they may still go back to a level 0 and switch between a level zero, 1, and 2. Level 0-2 can move back and forth between each level fairly easily.

    Level 3 - This is starting to look more like what most people associate with panting. The mouth has started to open up more and the tongue has started to hang out a bit more. Also, the “pant break” is starting to become short. Let me explain what I mean by the “pant break.” Panting happens in sessions. They have their tongue out, then they retract their tongue, swallow and they may drop their tongue out again and begin panting again. The time from when they pull their tongue back in until when they drop it out again for the next panting session is what I call the "pant break." As their panting level increases, the pant break gets shorter. The time for tongue retraction, swallow and the tongue falling back out gets shorter. This is a good thing.

    Level 4 - Here the mouth has opened up wide and the tongue is hanging out far. Most people would think that this is a full pant, but it is not. Their tongue is VERY long and they have not yet achieve full extension, but it might look like they have. They have not The pant break is getting pretty short at this level.

    Level 5 - This is a fully extended tongue, with the tongue absolutely as far out of the mouth as it can go. This is a good thing and it is what you what to get her to and maintain her at while she is running. The pant break is very short. It may look like her tongue falls back out even before she gets it all the way retracted. Her tongue will be wider and flatter. These are all very good signs, and not anything to worry about.

    Provided water is not given during the exercise, you are never going to have a problem. I will get into more detail after you read and ask any questions you have. We can talk about specific exercises etc....

    At this point I sent a video of what Kiba is doing after exercise (panting), he says it's a level 3. I mention I also got her wet to cool her down.


    Him: Please do not get her wet. I will explain more later tonight. - - - Just like giving water is a problem, wetting her down is not good. Do not think of her as "hot". Once she gets that tongue out all the way, she is cooling optimally. Wetting her down prevents and diminishes her natural cooling mechanisms.


    TLDR: online vet says dogs shouldn't have water during exercise but rather a couple hours later and wetting a dog reduces a dogs ability to cool down.

    I know there are a few of you here who condition your dogs well beyond what I do with Kiba, so I am wondering if this supposed vets advice sounds accurate? There is no citations other than his personal research which is not verifiable so I wanted to get opinions.

    It gets around 110 here in the summers, super dry, and I don't want to reduce her exercise or risk heat exhaustion.
  2. I'd just listen to your dog. If she thirsty she's gunna drink. And I run my dog at the river until he flat out won't move in the summer. He's still alive and kicking. I'm no pro. But I'd listen to what your dog wants.
  3. Worg

    Worg Big Dog

    That would be fine if I could trust her to know when to stop, but I've yet to find when she will actually quit going. She won't drink water because she won't take a break.
  4. pitbulldogs

    pitbulldogs OHMUHGERD Staff Member Administrator

    There is nothing wrong with a couple of laps of water during cool downs or breaks in between regimes i suppose but i usually don't give water until after they cool down some and recover, then they get feed and as much water as they want. Plus i usually like my dog empty and flushed before workouts or exercise.
    Worg likes this.
  5. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    That Reddit Dr didn't really sound like much of a Dr. The study really didn't provide any viable information, and was poorly written.
    If it were me, I'd just learn when my dog is hot, and stop. Like pitbulldogs said, a couple of licks of water won't hurt. I wouldn't, however, wet the whole dog down .
  6. BCdogs

    BCdogs Good Dog Staff Member Super Moderator

    Yeah, read this a couple times now and all I can think is that was a whole lot of nothing. The bloat thing I agree with, I don’t normally feed my dogs or allow a lot of water consumption in between heavy exercise, I wait until after.
    pitbulldogs likes this.
  7. Sagebrush

    Sagebrush Good Dog

    Ugh. That is some of the worst bulllshit I have ever heard.
    Just looking at the video, that dog is quite hot. I would have wet the belly/inside hind legs area; the SKIN is where the evaporation will occur and help with cooling -- and it feels good to the dog), and I would be walking this dog around until it cooled down some. If she wants to drink, sure, a little. If she doesn't, let her be until she wants to. Then give it to her in controlled amounts until she is hydrated again. Wetting the whole dog is not too big a deal -- in a dry climate -- but it's really not necessary. In humidity, I would not be wetting the whole dog down except for the belly. Water on fur will not evaporate when it's humid and can heat up on the dog.
    Dogs do NOT handle heat as well as humans -- they depend totally on evaporation from tongue and skin areas and they are limited in what they can do. Humidity is deadly for dogs and they will get in trouble quickly if over-exercised in humid weather, even if the temperature isn't all that high.
    Nat Ursula, pitbulldogs and Leslie H like this.
  8. Sagebrush

    Sagebrush Good Dog

    That's where WE come in. When they won't stop, we need to know when to stop them.
    Vicki likes this.
  9. Worg

    Worg Big Dog

    I cant imagine a dog painting much harder than she is in that video as well. Extremely dry here in Idaho, when its hotter out she dries within minutes. I dont give her water during exercise but I wouldn't want to wait an entire 2 hours afterward.

    Heat exhaustion can happen so fast, which is why I am hesitant to just take his word for it. He said his research will be published in the fall, I'll definitely look into it then but it doesnt make sense with the lack of sources.
    Nat Ursula likes this.
  10. Leslie H

    Leslie H Good Dog

    That sounds like total BS. Actually, Sagebrush, it was you who taught me to watch the dewpoint, probably 10 years back, and I do use it as a guide. APBT's do not have a more effective cooling structures than any other breeds. Certain factors play a role (depth of chest for good breathing, nice clear opern nostrils and airway, no excess bulky muscle) and can help a dog cool more effectively.
    Nat Ursula and pitbulldogs like this.
  11. Sagebrush

    Sagebrush Good Dog

    Oh yeah, individual structure and physiology can definitely play a role; and the best pit dogs probably had loads of the best kind, seen and unseen. I've had a couple over the years that stood out for being able to handle the heat and they are amazing.

    In addition to the features you mentioned, the ones that handle heat well are lanky, with lighter muscle and their skin is thin and tight all over the body and the hair is very short and close.
    pitbulldogs likes this.
  12. pitbulldogs

    pitbulldogs OHMUHGERD Staff Member Administrator

    The more i read what he/she sent the more i realized they are full of shit. Once the dog recovers you can feed and water them, in fact during a real keep, you want them fed within an hour of cooling down, depending on recovery and where the dog is i will feed and water within 30 minutes as long as the dog is recovered. Old timers used to completely wet them down during rub downs during the hotter months when running Cat Mills. One of the best things you can do though is make sure they are flushed out completely or you can damage their kidneys and they can and will blow hot quicker. That is the main reason i don't like giving any water during exercise, i already made sure they're flushed out for that very reason so why add water during the workout?

    Keep a damp wet rag near you for the cool down and rub the belly, and inner thighs, you can also take their front legs and spread them apart while they are standing which will help them breathe a little better.

    One thing i have noticed is when the tongue is out and completely to the side is usually when the dog is about as hot as its gonna get. Humidity plays a big roll, i actually debated that here with another member which disagreed but it does play a big roll with performance of said dog.

    Worg, might be best to stick with real dog people, that actually work with working breeds VS wondering off into Reddit land :)):)):))

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